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Extended Audio Sample Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain Audiobook, by Portia de Rossi Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (18,378 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Portia de Rossi Narrator: Portia de Rossi Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781442336407
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From actress Portia de Rossi, a revelatory and searing account of the years she spent secretly suffering from anorexia and bulimia, all while living under the glare of Hollywood’s bright lights.

“I didn’t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. No more wondering whether I could fit into a sample size dress, or if the camera would catch a bad angle. I just wanted to excel in dieting. And weighing in at 80 pounds on 300 calories a day, I was the best little dieter there ever was.” In this groundbreaking memoir, Portia de Rossi reveals the pain and illness that haunted her for decades, from the time she was a twelve-year-old girl working as a print and runway model in Australia, through her early rise to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development . All the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, putting her life in danger and concealing from herself and everyone around her the seriousness of her illness.

She describes the elaborate rituals around food that came to dominate hours of every day and explores the pivotal moments of her childhood that set her on the road to illness. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner, ever more in control of her body and the number of calories she consumed and spent.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love and marrying Ellen DeGeneres and emerging as an outspoken, articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues. In this remarkable and landmark work, she is giving the world a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The path de Rossi took to her happy ending is well worth reading about: her story is a cautionary tale, an inspiration, and a triumph.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Breathtakingly honest, brutal and beautiful.”

    Jonathan Safran Foer

  • “De Rossi tells her story with genuine insight and unflinching honesty. You will cheer her on.”

    Jeannette Walls

  • “Possibly the best book on the subject ever written. De Rossi is the real deal, a fine writer with a sharp mind and substance. This rich, layered book of remarkable courage, power, and significance will serve as life-changing inspiration for many.”

    Augusten Burroughs

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 2/16/2014

    " The book was both amazing and greatly unsettling. It certainly opened my eyes to what an eating disorder looks like, what thoughts appear in a girl's head, what kind of obsession it is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 2/16/2014

    " A thought provoking read that puts life into perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Estelle | 2/10/2014

    " Beautifully honest and insightful. A disturbingly raw read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/9/2014

    " I tried to read this book last Christmas when I received it as a gift but I couldn't get more than a couple chapters into it. I'm not sure why, maybe it was the writing style or maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time to read a book about such heavy subject matter. Well, I'm glad I gave it another shot. The author was brutally honest about her struggles with not only her eating disorder but the fact that she is gay and how difficult it was to be a celebrity with these issues. I was very happy to read about her recovery and the fact that she was finally able to find a loving supportive relationship with Ellen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniella Kinney | 2/4/2014

    " This Book, was good, overall a bit intense, to see someone elses side of being anorexic, to reflect my own, she did it as being a model, me i was bullied, picked on sad, all in my own way, of being depressed, although,I loved gym, obbesssed with exerize, and to busy being in my own little dark world to notticed how skinny I got. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anna | 2/3/2014

    " 300 pages of how to be anorexic very depressing and not very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 1/31/2014

    " This book was inspiring, horrific, and beautiful all put together. I wasn't sure what to think when I first started reading this book but as I got further and further into it, my eyes continued to open to the repercussions of eating disorders. de Rossi is completely honest in her book pulling away at all the layers of skin and completely exposing herself. I wanted to cry for her at points throughout the book but I couldn't stop reading. I hope that anyone who has ever suffered through an eating disorder reads this book but more than that, I hope that anyone who has struggled with their weight, thought they were too fat or too skinny, or suffered through low self esteem reads this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amelia | 1/24/2014

    " Heavy and in depth. There is nothing humorous about Portia de Rossi's discussion of the horrors of her eating disorder so don't expect a light read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danielle Killen | 1/18/2014

    " Absolutely loved this book. Every woman struggling with body image or not should read this just to understand what others have been through or may go through... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina Harper | 1/14/2014

    " Portia De Rossi's story is heartbreaking, and it is, to one extent or another, the story of so many of us. I liked the honesty, which was so brutal and raw in parts, and I'm so happy for her that at long last she healed herself and found what seems Ike real happiness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katelyn Harper | 1/1/2014

    " Really intense and insightful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cara Leclair | 12/13/2013

    " Portia de Rossi's memoir about her struggle with food, which culminates into near death, and how she recovered from this illness and made a life for herself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 8/23/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It is a wonderful real look at eating disorders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlotte | 7/23/2013

    " Brilliant and inspirational. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alysha | 3/10/2013

    " heartbreaking and honest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin Riggs | 11/23/2012

    " If you are a fan or not, it is a great book. Very raw and honest look at Portia's life being gay and having an eating disorder. Very quick and easy read, I did not want to put this book down. Great bio! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerry | 8/30/2012

    " Wow. Portia de Rossi is officially one of my heroes. This is a very, very brave book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keren | 8/27/2012

    " Excellent. Very honest and crucial, especially for those of us that have previously or are going through an eating disorder. So thankful for this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amalia | 5/20/2012

    " I don't know if this book is about mental illness, addiction/recovery, or how terrible the Hollywood industry is, but it's compulsively (ha ha... not) readable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie Vado | 4/19/2012

    " I did enjoy parts of this book, but most of the time I just wanted to reach into the pages and shake some sense into Mandy Rogers!! But I guess that's what it's all about. It's a great insight into a disorder I have never been able to get my head around. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 2/6/2012

    " Compelling. De Rossi unflinchingly faces her long desent into bulimia & severe anorexia. If you know someone with an ED it's a remarkable look at their mindstate, their compulsive nature. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julia Findon | 12/20/2011

    " Eh. I love addiction and recovery memoirs of all kinds, but this one wasn't satisfying. De Rossi is not that great of a writer and she spends a lot of time telling us how crazy she was, but not how she stopped being so crazy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 8/2/2011

    " I only knew Portia from watching Ellen. I heard about this book from Oprah and I thought I'd try it! I was shocked at the life that she lived and how she treated herself! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lani | 5/21/2011

    " Excellent book! It's beautifully written, very truthful and compelling. I admire Portia and how she has been able to turn this obsession into something beautiful for others to learn from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tess | 5/18/2011

    " Broke my heart, but it was so good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 5/17/2011

    " The writing style is beautiful and the story heart-wrenching. My only issue with it was that it could be viewed as a step-by-step manual for how to be better at anorexia, which is worrisome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 5/16/2011

    " This book broke my heart. One of the best books I've read about eating disorders, she truly captures the insanity of the disease. Recommended! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 5/16/2011

    " I couldn't put this book down. It's really scary, but made me think twice before I "created" another new eating plan for myself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 5/15/2011

    " Of course I was predisposed to like this on account of Ellen and Lindsay Bluth. The writing is good. I agree with other reviews: some editing would have been nice, but the message comes through loud and clear. "

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About the Author
Author Portia de RossiPortia de Rossi is an Australian-born actress best known for her roles in the television series Ally McBeal, Arrested Development, and most recently Better Off Ted. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres.